Raising a family of six on a single income I had to get creative with free or highly discounted entertainment and dining.
After the world spends over a year indoors, the end is finally in sight. As more families can safely return to public spaces, you can expect travel destinations, local businesses, and restaurants will be busier than ever before. I put together my go-to list of websites to save money when planning for these purchases. Who doesn’t love to get a greater value when you spend time with family and friends?
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Groupon has become my favorite discounted entertainment go tos for its support of local businesses. Emphasized as the “heart of Groupon,” local deals range from entertainment to restaurants, to education, and more. You will likely end up trying new activities and meals you have never been exposed to before after browsing the site’s various offers.
Some of our favorites have been dart tag, escape rooms, and scavenger hunts around the town. The great thing is that you can get instant access to Groupon activities in whatever town you may be in.
Brainy Actz in Mesa Az
They didn’t think I stood a chance against all the boys, but guess who was the last one standing. This old lady! 🙂
Scavenger Hunt in Ogden Utah
This was so much fun we ran all over downtown Ogden to find clues. One team cheated and rented a few scooters.
Tip: Check the Deals of the Day for seasonal coupons, like 40% off Mother’s Day flowers or 30% off Fall candles.
Similar to Groupon, Living Socials discount entertainment site you will find a community of users sharing unique deals in their area, ensuring each offer is relevant and accessible. Sign up to share the local deals you have found, or browse what others have discovered. I found that there are more escapes on Living Social so I use Groupon more. Last I heard Groupon was purchasing Living Social but I have not done research to confirm this.
Tip: Check Living Social when planning trips out of town to find discounted experiences locals have deemed worthy of sharing.
With Local Flavor after paying a fee, users are reimbursed with a certificate at nearly double the value to use at the business of their choice. I feel there are more restaurants my family likes here.
Peruse City Deals for discounts that can be printed and used immediately. While they categories for hotels, salons, fitness, and more, their selection of restaurants is the most extensive. Local restaurant deals for 50% off are common, and in some cases, you can find them up to 90% off.
Tip: Most deals can be used immediately, but some will be mailed to you. Remember to check beforehand to avoid confusion.
With the city pass, you purchase a pass for your designated city. You have options to purchase a 1-3 day pass. There are a list of many attractions to visit. You can go to as many of these attractions as you can fit in for the day.
We used this on our trip to Boston. I like to get the most out of our money so I strategically planned how to get the most attractions in. You can read more on that trip here.
Also known as Plastic Jungle, users can sell gift cards for cash or buy them at a discounted price on Card Cash. If you have a gift card you know you won’t use, trade it for cash or online balances to use at one of your favorite locations. When buying, each card discount is highlighted and some are over 20% off.
Tip: Gift cards can also be traded for Amazon cards of equal value or 92% cashback on cardpool.com. Members can check Costco for gift cards to fun locations on sale.
Expedia is a one-stop trip for discounted entertainment and travel planning. We usually find great deals and they have been easy to work with on refunds or exchanges.
Travelzoo works with over 5,000 travel suppliers to find the best deals for hotels, flights, rentals, and discounted entertainment and activities. Their Top 20 deals keep users updated on the most recent discounts with the most savings and greatest value.
Tip: When visiting a hotel, ask if there are any available complimentary upgrades. Management always aims to please, so if an upgrade is available you could end up staying in a penthouse suite for $50 a night.
A price line is a point companies don’t want to sell below. Priceline originally got around this by driving demand for flights and allowing customers to bid for a seat, but now they have upgraded their offers with Express Deals that deliver the same savings with instant bookings. You can also find other travel deals for hotels, car rentals, and alternative accommodations at comparison to their full-price offers.
Tip: Keep your departure and return dates flexible, as Priceline will highlight dates with the greatest savings for you.
The name of this site is self-explanatory. With thousands of dining deals from $5 to $100, restaurant.com has become a favorite for foodies nationwide. Their Verified Diner Ratings and Reviews ensure critiques come from users that have actually dined at the restaurant, and the deals never expire.
Tip: Buy a gift card for $10 to give a friend or family member a certificate at more than double the value.
Costco always has gift cards to movies, water parks, as well as Costcotravel.com offers travel discounts. At least once a year I usually always purchase some fun activity or destination from Costco.
- Take an afternoon to compile a list of your favorite brands, businesses, restaurants, and activity centers and sign up for their email promotions. You will always be updated on their deals and never be short of options for affordable entertainment.
- Check Craigslist for tickets to sporting events, theater events, or those of other interests. If none are available, make an offer at the event location to people selling tickets there. They would rather make a sale than wait for someone to pay a set price, so don’t let them talk you into paying more than you want.
- Create a separate email just to receive offers if you don’t want them clogging up your inbox.
What are some of your ways to save money for discounted entertainment and dining?